Brighton & Hove Albion women’s manager James Marrs is looking forward to finally getting 2015 underway when the side take on West Ham United in an FA Cup second round tie at Withdean on Sunday, kick-off 2pm.
The Albion manager was frustrated after the Sussex derby against Lewes last week was postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch, but insists the players are in the best-possible shape despite almost a month since their last competitive match.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We’re on a good run and we want to continue that, so it hasn’t been ideal to have the number of weeks we’ve had off, especially after the game got called off last Sunday.
“But we have been training hard this week and the girls are itching to get back onto the grass and play in a competitive game.
“Everyone wants to play, we’re nearly fully fit - which is really good for this time of year - and we will be putting out the strongest team available, so there won’t be any rotation this week.
“It will be a case of whoever has trained well this week will have an opportunity to get themselves into the starting eleven and into the squad.”
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Marrs has some fond memories in the competition after leading Gillingham to a glamourous fifth round tie against Arsenal last season, but is not dwelling on past achievements ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Hammers.
“I would say that my recent cup pedigree is okay. Last season we had quite a long run in the FA Cup with Gillingham and were lucky to draw Arsenal away, but at the moment we’re not looking further ahead than West Ham.
“It’s the first time we’ve played them and we’ve heard a lot of good things about the side. They’ve had some good results this season, but if we can beat them and have a good cup run then it would be fantastic for us.”
Former West Ham United defender Julian Dicks will be in the opposition dugout on Sunday for the Hammers and Marrs is delighted that such high-profile figures in the game are becoming involved in women’s football.
“I’m looking forward to facing Julian Dicks. It will be nice seeing him on the same touchline as me and it shows how far women’s football has come.
“To have a club legend taking charge of their women’s team is good for their club and women’s sport in general, but I won’t be praising him on Sunday. I’ll be focusing on my own team and hope that we can do the business.”